FanPost

Has the problem been Jerry, or the coaches that he hires?

Most Dallas Cowboys fans know that Arkansas oilman, Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1989. One of Jerry's first tasks was to fire legendary head coach Tom Landry (and the previous administration). Jimmy Johnson was hired shortly thereafter, and the new regime of modern ownership of America's Team started. These new Cowboys won three Super Bowls with Mr. Jones as the Owner and General Manager.

Since the last Super Bowl this franchise won in 1995, Dallas has won two playoff games (Minnesota in 1996 [1995 regular season] and Philadelphia in 2010 [2009 regular season]). Many fans have blamed Jerry Jones for the longest period in franchise history without a championship. Numerous fans are enraged with Jones' function as the General Manager: where his primary responsibility is to add talent to the organization.

Jerry has shouldered the lion's share of the blame for failing to add quality players to the roster since the departure of Jimmy Johnson. But should the criticism leveled at Jerry Jones focus on the acquisition of talent on the field, or on his inability to discover the right coach to work within the administrative framework of the team?

Analyzing the drafts the Cowboys have conducted under Jerry Jones' guidance provides insight into the impact the head coach makes in the War Room. In order to provide a way to grade the drafts, the following scale was used:

Grade

Label

Description

1

Right time, right place

Would have never contributed on a good team

2

Contributor

Starter or key back-up

3

Franchise player

Great player that falls short of the Ring of Honor

4

Ring of Honor

Is or should be enshrined

For example, Tom Landry was the head coach during the final draft conducted before Jerry bought the team. Under Tom Landry, Tex Schramm, and Gil Brandt, the Cowboys selected Michael Irvin, Ken Norton Jr., and Chad Hennings. Michael Irvin earned a grade of 4. Chad and Ken each garnered a score of 3. Therefore, Landry's final draft earned a score of 10 (4+3+3). Obviously, that was an excellent draft.

On the other hand, the only players of note drafted by Dave Campo during his three year stint as Head Coach were Roy Williams (Safety), Andre Gurode, and Quincy Carter. Andre earned a score of 3, while Roy received a score of 2. Quincy Carter received the lowest possible score, a 1. Most players drafted do not warrant a score due to the insignificant contributions they made during their time in the NFL.

The scoring system rewards coaching regimes with discovering great players regardless of the round in which the players were selected. Bill Parcells has two undrafted rookie free agents included in his numbers: Tony Romo and Miles Austin. Kickers and punters are not included.

Head Coach

Score

Drafts

Players Graded

Avg. Score / Player

Avg. Score / Draft

Jimmy Johnson

54

5

20

2.7

10.8

Bill Parcells

30

4

12

2.5

7.5

Wade Phillips

17

4

8

2.125

4.25

Barry Switzer

12

4

6

2

3

Dave Campo

6

3

3

2

2

Jason Garrett

10

2

3

3.333333333

5

Chan Gailey

8

2

4

2

4

Tom Landry

10

1

3

3.333333333

10

Notice that the three head coaches that worked with Jerry Jones over the last 23 years that have exerted their muscle in the selection of players have had significantly better drafts than those coaches that that have not (as per reports from Bryann Broaddus). Jimmy Johnson has obviously experienced the best drafts with Jerry serving as GM. Bill Parcells also had a good share of success with Jerry in the War Room.

As it turns out, both Jimmy and Bill combined to oversee only 9 of the 24 NFL drafts under Jones' ownership. Jerry did not enjoy working with Bill and Jimmy's mammoth ego clashed with Jerry's colossal ego.

Wade Phillips and Chan Gailey had moderate success assembling talent over the course of six drafts, but with the exception of two players (Flozell Adams: 3, and Sean Lee: 3), the other ten players graded received a score of 2 or less. For the most part those coaches selected solid players, not difference makers. Notice the Average Score per Player for Wade and Chan: a 2.125 and a 2.0 respectively.

Compare that score to the type of players Jimmy and Bill brought into the Cowboys fold. Surprisingly, Tom Landry's final draft compares to Jason Garrett's first two drafts if Tyron Smith (4), DeMarco Murray (3), and Morris Claiborne (3) develop and play as expected. If Claiborne develops into the play-making cornerback that he was at LSU, and DeMarco Murray builds upon an injury filled rookie season, Garrett's first two drafts look to be the greatest in the illustrious history of this great and proud franchise since 1989: Johnson's first two drafts.

Jason Garrett's draft picks still have a chance to raise his solid Average Score per Draft score. Bruce Carter and Tyrone Crawford should develop into starters, and could become great players in the mold of Sean Lee and Jay Ratliff.

There is a significant difference between a General Manager that fails to find talented players, and a GM that struggles to find the right head coach to work within the administrative framework of the organization. With Jerry's increased reliance on a head coach's input, the right head coach needs to have a strong background in personnel evaluation, as well as possess the typical proficiency with X's and O's and the ability to lead. Finding a coach that has excellent organizational skills that can provide the direction necessary to establish the foundational beliefs an organization utilizes to find success is hard enough. Finding a head coach that also boasts the ability to identify the talent necessary to win a Super Bowl is...well, an endeavor that obviously has taken Jerry at least 16 years.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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